Antara's Reviews > Shantaram

Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts
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Apr 23, 2012

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Read from March 29 to April 19, 2012

It's taken me 3 attempts in 4 years to finish this book - I cannot stress this fact enough as I'm one of those obsessive compulsive readers and every time I leave a book unfinished, I swear I can feel it staring back accusingly from my bookshelf until I'm compelled to pick it up again. And having finally turned the last page, I've figured out why this book is both highly recommended as well as painfully difficult to finish.

The problem very simply is this - the first and last parts of the book are agonizingly sluggish, intentionally sentimental and overindulgent. This is a book which should have been shortened by at least a hundred pages to keep to its 'gripping thriller' selling point. However, it is the difficult-to-get-to middle of the book that makes it worthwhile. On the surface, it is a story that is borderline trite - fugitive foreigner come to India and finds himself. Take out the fugitive part and it could be 'Eat, Pray, Love' (eww). However, the mix of mysticism, Mumbai, mafia and masala does work. The plot is paced well, the characters are intriguing and the author's voice is imperfect enough to seem real. Sometimes through the philosophizing, you may even come across something that makes your heart nod in agreement.

Everything about the book seems almost real. Almost. Because you can never quite shake off the feeling that this 'true' story is calculated to tug at your heartstrings and meant to leap off the page onto a big screen. Reading this book will not change your life, but it IS very entertaining if you have the patience (or reading OCD). This would have made a great Hollywood movie - too bad Slumdog Millionaire pipped it to the post.
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02/08 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-6 of 6) (6 new)

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message 1: by Seema (new)

Seema I am at third attempt - still failed to finish it. Hows it?


message 2: by Christopher (new) - added it

Christopher "...every time I leave a book unfinished, I swear I can feel it staring back accusingly from my bookshelf until I'm compelled to pick it up again." me too, thanks for the laugh :)


Urvi I agree it took me a while to finish it....and I think I got reading OCD as well...I just cannot leave a book halfway through, even if I'm not enjoying it...anyway I did finish it and you are right...it cud do with a few less pages...


Udaykiran Joshi haha..I completely agree...glad to know that there are many others as well like me who took really really long to complete this novel but at the same time did not want to put it down :-)
but in the end I would say it was an interesting read :-)


message 5: by Ashhi (new) - added it

Ashhi Thakar I started Shantaram like for the fourth time...


Maggie It's taken me 4 years to read too!


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